Staff Predictions: Owls take on Middle Tennessee in hopes for bowl eligibility

FAU lost 27-17 to the Blue Raiders in last season’s matchup.


Erika Fletcher

Latrell Jean dances over FAUs lead going into the 3rd quarter on Oct. 29, 2022.

The FAU Owls are preparing for their matchup on the road against the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

FAU lost 27-17 in last season’s matchup, seeing its chances for bowl contention end as a result.

According to ESPN, the Owls are six-point favorites to win the matchup.

The University Press Sports Staff returns with their predictions after going 4-0 last week.

Cameron Priester – Sports Editor (5-5)

Middle Tennessee has all the tools to give FAU another very tough matchup.

The Owls have depended heavily on junior running back Larry McCammon III all season, and the same trend should continue Saturday. However, the Blue Raiders’ defense has been fantastic in stopping the run all season, ranking first in Conference USA in rushing defense.

Slowing down Middle Tennessee’s explosive offense will also be a key to victory for the Owls. This will be no easy task despite the streak of solid performances by the FAU defense, as the Blue Raiders are averaging 29.3 points in their last three games.

Though they finally got their first victory in an away game last week, expect their struggles on the road to return this Saturday.

Prediction: FAU 38, MTSU 24

Richard Pereira – News Editor (7-3)

FAU is looking to get payback against Middle Tennessee after losing 27-17 to them last year. 

The Blue Raiders possess one of the best defenses in Conference USA, allowing just 134.4 rushing yards as the best rushing defense in the conference.

This will be an interesting task for offensive coordinator Brent Dearmon to handle, who will want FAU’s rushing offense to persevere through opposing defenses with the likes of running backs Larry McCammon III, Zuberi Mobley, and Johnny Ford.

Quarterback N’Kosi Perry has gained a rhythm from the last two games, throwing five passing touchdowns and getting two rushing touchdowns to his name. He needs to continue finding wide receivers LaJohntay Wester and Je’Quan Burton, who have been effective with their receptions as of late.

If the Owls show they learned from their mistakes against the Blue Raiders last year, they will have one more game to play after clinching bowl contention.

Prediction: FAU 31, MTSU 20

Trey Avant – Staff Writer (7-3)

This is a big game for both FAU and MTSU, as a win for either team will make them bowl-eligible. While FAU may be the favorite, history says otherwise. 

The Owls lost 27-17 to MTSU last season, and are 1-4 on the road this year. MTSU has a lot to play for in front of a home crowd and has the ability to negate FAU’s biggest strength.

FAU ranks 24th in the nation in rushing yards gained with 200.6 rushing yards per game. MTSU ranks 48th in the nation in rushing yards allowed with 134.9 rushing yards per game.

If the Owls cannot get the run game going against MTSU, they will be forced to rely on quarterback N’Kosi Perry to lead them to victory. Perry has been inconsistent this season, but he has played well in the team’s last two wins.

MTSU is ranked 117th in the nation in passing yards allowed with 275.7 yards per game, so Perry could carve up MTSU’s defense but it all depends if he shows up. 

On the other hand, FAU needs to key in on MTSU’s running back Frank Peasant. This season, Peasant has rushed for 633 yards and eight touchdowns on 4.4 yards per carry. FAU is giving up 4.9 yards per carry and 182.0 rushing yards per game to opposing running backs.

The Owls put an end to their road woes last week against FIU, but against a more formidable opponent, they might not have the mindset to pull off the victory on Saturday.

Prediction: MTSU 41, FAU 28

Kevin Garcia – Staff Writer (4-5)

FAU will be on the road Saturday, where the team is just 1-4 away from Boca Raton. 

In 2021, the Owls fell to the Blue Raiders in the final game of that season. With more on the line this year, a big performance is to be expected. 

The C-USA foes allow more points than they score, which might not be important. The Owls struggled against teams they should have beaten on paper this season. 

Riding a two-game win streak, the Owls should have enough momentum to lock up their biggest road win of the year. 

Prediction: FAU 35, MTSU 24

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff:  Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron), Richard Pereira (@Rich26Pereira), and Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3), and Kevin Garcia (@Kevingar658)